TEN years ago Darren Weir was preparing diminutive mare She’s Archie for the biggest race of them all – the Melbourne Cup.
Despite finishing second in the Geelong Cup at her previous start, She’s Archie was not rated a major contender.
However, she flew under the radar to finish second to Makybe Diva – her first of three consecutive Melbourne Cup victories – and give her Ballarat trainer one of the biggest thrills of his life.
This time last week Weir appeared on the verge of having his best chance since then to win the big one, this time with a much higher profile galloper.
Puissance de Lune just needed to get around in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley to book what had been in the planning for 12 months –a tilt at the Melbourne Cup.
Unfortunately, the French import struggled to finish near the tail of the field and has since been found to have two tendon injuries.
Scans at the Ballarat Veterinary Clinic found a small hole in one tendon and a small lesion in the other.
Owner Gerry Ryan will now make the call as to whether Puissance de Lune returns for another spring campaign in his pursuit of a group 1 victory or goes to stud.
While Weir’s chance at this year’s Melbourne Cup is gone, he still has his eyes well and truly fixed on one of the other group 1 jewels in the Melbourne Cup Carnival crown.
May’s Dream, a daughter of She’s Archie, is shaping as the one to beat in Thursday’s $1m Crown Oaks, 2500m.
May’s Dream is the favourite for the group 2 $300,000 Wakeful Stakes, 2000m, at Flemington today, which is the traditional lead-up event to the Oaks.
She has come a long way in a short time, bursting onto the scene, and a big run will have her in the Oaks spotlight.
She’s Archie gave Weir his first group 1 win in the South Australian Oaks, but a Victoria Oaks would be something else.
Weir’s other big runner at Flemington this afternoon is Ava’s Delight in the group 1 $500,000 Myer Classic, 1600m.